[Update] Literature, Politics, and Aesthetics: The Production of Knowledge and the Future of the University

full name / name of organization: 
Binghamton University

he Sixth Annual Comparative Literature Graduate Conference
Binghamton University (SUNY)
Literature, Politics, and Aesthetics:
The Production of Knowledge and the Future of the University
March 8th-9th, 2013

Neoliberal policies have restructured the university, disciplinary knowledge, and the disciplines themselves. With the formation of the 'for-profit' university, profit-bearing disciplines are valorized, student loans increase drastically, and humanities departments are pressured to redefine themselves in the face of intrusive economic demands. But where does this leave the humanities? What is the status of knowledge production given economic deregulation and privatization shaping the present and future of the university?

These transformations have manifested in the dissolution and elimination of departments in the humanities, and thereby the loss of certain types of knowledge from the university. Perhaps because, or in spite of, these very same processes, spaces for new knowledges open up. For instance, humanities centers are formed to house conversations between traditional disciplines as interdisciplinary programs are dissolved. These transformations refer to but also move beyond questions as they appear in Jacques Derrida's "The University Without Condition," Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's Death of a Discipline, or Edu-factory's Toward a Global Autonomous University.

We seek papers that address the following questions:

What trends and approaches exist in literary criticism today? Are they connected to the broader restructurings mentioned? If so, how? For instance, how do feminist, postcolonial, queer, and other approaches to literature address questions concerning the production of knowledge?
What political problems do neoliberal policies pose at the university level, the disciplinary level, and beyond the university?
How do we define research today within comparative literature, language departments, visual studies, media studies, cultural studies, and other interdisciplinary programs? What methods and theories can legitimately be used within the disciplinary purview of today's humanities departments? What does this mean for disciplinary boundaries themselves?
Ultimately, is literary criticism still relevant to knowledge production within the university? How does the analysis of a specific literary movement, period, or narrative reflect these broader developments?

Please send your 300-500 word abstract to Isabella To at thefutureuniversity@gmail.com by December 14th, 2012.